Kobe Bryant Says He Won’t Play in 2016 Olympic Games

by January 21, 2014

For some time now, it’s been clear that Kobe Bryant is done with international competition. And despite overtures from Tom Thibodeau, Kobe says he won’t suit up for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics. (A talkative Bryant also opened up about his injured knee, and the state of the NBA game today.) Per the LA Daily News:

Bryant’s return will obviously help the Lakers’ cause. But he said his return remains “up in the air.” Is he just as uncertain about how he’ll play?

“Zero,” Bryant said. “There was before I came back the first time because I didn’t know how my Achilles would respond to changing direction. The game in Memphis, I had a pretty good feel and felt like I was getting back to what I normally do. I feel pretty confident. I did play that second half on a fractured leg. I like my chances.”

Bryant immediately vowed he won’t return after winning gold in the 2012 London games. Despite signing a two-year extension worth $48.5 million that will keep him under contract through the 2015-16 season, Bryant held firm.

“Nope, I’ll go and spectate,” Bryant said. “I think I’d rather watch Pau [Gasol] win another silver” with the Spanish national team.

Bryant also voiced his dislike on how the NBA has become more of a “finesse” game and employs “small ball,” a philosophy Bryant conceded Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni largely speaheaded. Bryant voiced his preference for the rugged style played in the 1980′s NBA. Bryant also insisted the harsher rules hadn’t made much an impact in prolonging his 18-year NBA career.

“I like smash mouth old school basketball,” Bryant said. “That’s what I grew up watching. It’s much less physical. Some of the flagrant fouls I see called nowadays makes me nauseous. You can’t touch a guy without it being a flagrant foul. I see some of the negatives too.”

Can the game revert back to the past?

“I don’t know,” Bryant said. “Kids might be too sensitive for that nowadays.”